14 Do everything
It is GOD who BLESSES and TRANSFORMS...
This is a blog for women who:
(1) Desire to be transformed by JESUS' LOVE, HOLINESS, AND GRACE; (2) Believe that GOD'S WORD is the true Spirit food for HIS HOLY SPIRIT who lives within us; (3) Submit to GOD and walk this journey of life with HIM transforming us more and more into HIS likeness.
It's a blog about the POWER OF TRANSFORMED LIVES. Let's begin with yours and mine and pass it on... 1 + 1 + 1...
Since God's Holy Spirit lives inside a christian, let's choose to be nurtured and transformed by feasting daily on Holy Spirit food - God's Word - The Holy Bible..
Once in a while I take a hiatus from writing, but I have begun again on Easter Sunday 2013. Usually, there will be multiple blog postings each week. You are invited to use it as part of your daily quiet time. Topics may run for several months at a time. The current topic is posted over on the right side bar. Each week, I will try to connect to a song or two that goes with our current topic.
Each day of the week follows a special format: Sunday in the Son; Meditation Monday; GratiTuesday; Women in the Word Wednesday; Transforming Thursday; Family Fellowship Friday; and, Ketchup and Mustard Saturday.
There's a whole lot here! Take your time to browse. Please come back and visit often. Welcome!
Because of Jesus, we can be family,
TRANSFORMED MOMS:MOMS TRANSFORMED
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
14 Do everything
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Many mornings, during the week, I head out to a school somewhere in South Jersey to supervise one of my clinical practice student teachers who are certifying in both general education and special education. I especially love my travels on the Atlantic City Expressway as I head toward the rising sun and away from Philly and the morning rush of traffic. It is such a wonderful opportunity to focus on His faithfulness, the new mercies I see, and all the needs He has provided for me! Doing this while listening to praise music is the "perfect storm" for a gratitude attitude!
When I take this route, I pass the exit that Deb and some of my other sisters in Christ take to go home from church. It gives me a nudge to pray for them and their spiritual journeys... to thank the LORD that He has put these amazing women in my LIFE!
In the last year, several LIFE changing things have happened as Deb and her family have been on a journey of putting Jesus back in His rightful place as LORD of their lives.
She shared about being in a store several months ago and literally walking right into her father who she had not seen in many years and had definitely not had a relationship with. He had not been faithful. Now, here he stood and he did not even recognize her! As she stood there with her near teen daughter and tried to connect with him, she said, "it felt like someone opened the door of her heart and threw in a rattlesnake."
God gave her that "peace that passes understanding" as she was kind, yet firm. She walked away and out of the store knowing that, "It was okay! My Daddy is in heaven and He knows me!"
Deb closed her lesson telling us that Jesus is now THE ONE WHO HAS FIRST PLACE IN MY LIFE! She has learned to claim the following verse because she knows HE IS FAITHFUL to keep His promises:
As I look at this scripture right now, I am excited about the verses that follow verse 4:
- 5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this:
- 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
- 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways,when they carry out their wicked schemes.
- 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it leads only to evil.
- 9 For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.
Monday, March 29, 2010
- "Life is hard, but God is good!"
- "Good things come to those who wait."
- "Trust and obey for there is no other way!"
- "This world is not my home, I'm just a passin' through!"
2 Corinthians 5:4-9 gives us a glimpse into this LIFE that we live as christians. It gives us a peek at our purpose and the meaning of LIFE! It's not for the faint of heart!!! I'm getting a little carried away with bolding words:
6 Therefore we are always confident
- Does God want us to take risks?
- There are times when God will ask us to do things that mights bring us hurt and pain.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not,
Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been,
Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning
new mercies I see.
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness,
Lord, unto me!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
This week we've spent some time talking about LIFE and BREATH and DEATH. There's something so encouraging about NEW LIFE!!! Join me over a quick burger for a few Must Do's!
Recently, as we've looked at the last part of our memory verse, we see what God has to say about how to bring true LIFE via the WORD OF LIFE to others:
- DO EVERYTHING WITHOUT COMPLAINING AND ARGUING!
Sounds hard... but it's not an option... it's a command!
There's something about this time of year that brings out the best and the worst in people. As spring arrives, we're so excited for the sunshine and warmth, yet, are we excited for the rainy days, too? It's the balance of sunshine and rain that brings the NEW LIFE of spring! May this balance teach us that God always keeps His promises!
The wonder of a new baby... NEW LIFE... brings NEW LIFE to old bones. We have many in our family who have been born at this time of year. My brothers and Crystal's birthdays are next week. Jordan and Chloe's birthdays are the next week. Here is my mom yesterday, in awe of her great-grandson Clayton. My sister-in-love, Sandi wrote, "As soon as she saw him, she started smiling and she didn't stop. I let her hold him for about 10 minutes. She couldn't take her eyes off of him! It was so sweet :)."
Just this morning, I got an email with a link. Here's what the email said:
"You know, sometimes life just gets too serious...too busy...and too complicated. We don't mean for it to happen, but we wake up one morning to discover the fun has slipped away. A few years ago a health study determined there are 3 main reasons people can't cope in life:
- They live in the past.
- They have a low self-esteem.
- They can't laugh at themselves.
In fact, the study indicated that we need approximately 12 laughs a day to stay healthy!"
As the email continued, I thought of other "Simple Truths" about LIFE! This led me to think of the ONE SIMPLE TRUTH who can take care of living in the past, low self esteem, and taking ourselves less seriously. John 14:6 says,
"I am the Way
and the Truth
and THE LIFE.
No one comes to the Father
except through Me."
Friday, March 26, 2010
- "They were a family of best friends."
- "Can we emphasize the pivotal role that Jesus played in her life?"
- "She loved these songs: "Living for Jesus", "I'll Fly Away", "Great Is Thy Faithfulness", "One Step at a Time", "This is My Father's World", and "I Come to the Garden Alone".
- "She was a big part of the ministry at Park Place seniors center - often visiting the residents in their rooms who could not come out to the main room."
- "When a local high school opened opportunities for people to teach adult education classes on Tuesday evening, she was Jay's #1 supporter as he began a class on looking at the Bible."
- "Bethany, you are your mother's daughter... very smart." (Bethany was valedictorian of her high school graduating class).
- "Sue quietly sent a letter/card to Jessica Sikes each week."
- "Sue hurried to the hospital to see Ilene this last Saturday when she heard that Ilene had fallen and broken her back."
- "Sue handed me a bag with a tea set and tea bags and told me to use this to sit down for chats with my teenage daughter."
- "Sue did what she said she would do... she showed up at our family movie night with popcorn and drinks."
- "To many of her students Sue was known as 'Mrs. Wonderful!'"
- "Her dinner table was a sacred space!"
- "Sue's Proverbs 31 service to Jay freed him up to "be respected" in the workplace." (spoken by a co-worker)
- "When Bethany was asked what her mom's favorite scripture was, she said 'the whole book of Colossians'!"
Some of her favorite verses from Colossians 3:12-17 were read:
"Therefore, as God's chosen people,
HOLY and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with
Bear with each other
and forgive whatever grievances
you may have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues
put on love,
which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
as you teach and admonish one another
with all wisdom,
and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
I did not know these were so dear to Sue's heart. If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know that last verse was our "Sikes' family contract verse" when our kids were growing up.
And then there was the paraphrased version of Proverbs 31 that her husband, Jay, wrote six years ago on Sue's 45th Birthday. I remember last summer in our VIRTUOUS WOMAN CLASS we talked about this being the eulogy at our funerals. Well, we heard it yesterday! If you were not able to be part of the service yesterday, here is the first part of that paraphrase that was on the back of the program. I would like to ask Jay's permission before sharing it in full.
"I would like to say that I found a virtuous woman,
but, honestly, it was God who found her for me.
She is a person who I can trust to care for my life
more than I can trust myself.
She is not flighty, foolish, or rash;
rather, she quickly weighs out options in her mind
and makes wise choices about how
to spend her money and time.
She shows her husband great respect,
and has taught her daughter to respect her father..."
- SUE, YOU WERE THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN...
- AND YOUR HUSBAND KNEW IT FULL WELL!!!!!
- THANK YOU FOR LIVING AND BREATHING JESUS!!!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Sue and Jay, deeply in love, partners in ministry, devoted parents... "Transformed Mom" Sue breathed her last breath in this life on Sunday and headed on into ETERNAL LIFE. Yet, another young college age girl has been left without her mama!
We as christians believe that scripture (The Holy Bible) is the inspired word of God. The word inspired means "GOD BREATHED". Today, join me in scripture verses that talk about LIFE, BREATH, and DEATH:
- Acts 17:25-26 "He Himself gives to all LIFE AND BREATH and all things..."
- Leviticus 17:14 "For as for the LIFE of all flesh, its blood is identified with its LIFE."
- Philippians 2 "...SHINE LIKE STARS in the universe as you hold out the word of LIFE..."
- Philippians 1:20-21 "Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by LIFE or by DEATH. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
- Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither DEATH, nor LIFE, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. "
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Spring is here and yet another season testifies to the glory of The CREATOR!!!
For this quarter, in our Sunday morning ladies class, women are taking turns "looking in the rear view mirror of their life" and seeing one concept or characteristic of Jesus from the book of Colossians that has been shown through their lives. Yesterday morning, in Philly rush hour traffic, I looked in my rear veiw mirror...
As I did, I was reminded of how grateful I am to be in a church family who believes in everyone telling their "God stories". I am so thankful that...
- Two weeks ago "A" shared about "JESUS: The One who forgives my sins!" Her story centered around Colossians 1:14 "...in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
- Last week, Kristy shared about "JESUS: The One who shows me God!" Her story centered around Colossians 1:15 "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
- This past Sunday, Carla shared about "JESUS: The One who created me!" Her story centered around Colossians 1:16 "For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him."
How fitting that Carla is a registered nurse who has specialized in:
- cardiac care
- palative care (end of life care)
She says that she is passionate about science and is currently working on her PhD in nursing in Philadelphia. She said, "I do have a scientific mind. I know that I am talented in this area... but more than that, I know what I know about science from what I know about my Creator!"
.Carla had many teachable moments in her short presentation. I believe that her prayer and preparation made this lesson "God-breathed" as God ministered to so many through her. It also connected wonderfully to our theme on this blog for the week.
- First, we had all just heard about our sister Sue having a massive heart attack in the night. We prayed for Sue, as we knew she was laboring for breath. Later, we would learn that Sue's life on this earth was no more. Carla talked us through it and calmed our fears. She encouraged us to remember that we all were "created for God's purpose..."
- Secondly, she reminded us that part of a nurse's job is to make practical applications after a doctor has given his/her diagnosis, treatment, and/or medicines. The nurse is often the one who puts a practical and social/friendly face on a sometimes scarey encounter with medicine and LIFE and death.
- Third, she reminded us that The Creator's timing is different from ours. After trying to get pregnant unsuccessfully, she and her husband looked at fertility options. Two days before her appointment to have invitro fertilization she found out that she was pregnant. There was a new LIFE growing inside of her. God's timing!
- Covered by prayer, her first born was delivered early at 1 lb. 4 oz.! The Creator's timing! Carla passed around pictures and little hats and diapers that were her daughter "M's". Look at them placed by my coffee cup!
Carla praised God as she told of "M" having no signs today as a result of being a preemie. In fact, her gifts are many! Carla posed for a picture with her two girls at the end of the lesson.
- God is in control!
- He has created me for His purpose
I join Carla in highly recommending this book if you have never read it. It will open your eyes to many wonderful things about your Creator and you as His creation! Although you cannot look inside of it here, you can on Amazon. Click on the book for the link.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Ecclesiastes 3 says,
"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot..."
Psalm 150:66 says,
Our March memory verse includes these phrases:
- "...for it is GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU
- ... according to HIS GOOD PURPOSE...
- as you hold out the word of LIFE..."
Acts 17:24-27 says,
"The God who made the world and all things in it,
since He is Lord of heaven and earth,
does not dwell in temples made with hands;
neither is He served by human hands,
as though He needed anything,
since He Himself gives to all
and He made from one,
every nation of mankind
to live on all the face of the earth,
having determined their appointed times,
and the boundaries of their habitation,
that they should seek God..."
Each Saturday morning, at 8 a.m., a group of men "seekers" gather at the Pitman church of Christ to pray. My husband, Steve, is part of that group. So is Jay! Steve says that on Saturday, as he prayed, he specifically talked to God about appreciating the brevity of life and the blessing of the time / gifts we've been given.
As the men went about their Saturday, both attended various activities with their wives and our church family. The call came in the middle of the night... Jay's wife, Sue had had a massive heart attack. She had stopped breathing! 911 was called! The emergency techs helped her to begin breathing again. It had been too long! She passed away at the hospital yesterday. As they left the hospital, Jay said to Steve that he remembered Saturday morning's prayer about the brevity of life.
I did not know the reason why I changed our theme song on Saturday night. I had planned for another song about HOLINESS or the song LIFESONG. Yet, a small still voice kept saying to me that there was another song on my playlist that would be better for this week's theme. It was obvious to me that I needed to investigate. So, I did. It was soon even more obvious that EVERY TIME I BREATHE was that song. Yet, it wouldn't be until what happened with Sue that I would begin to see the spiritual depths of the choice. Once again, I am in awe of how THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD leads, guides, works, and teaches.
As I was thinking about what to write for this post, people began to post tributes on Facebook to our friend Sue. Here are a few that I will leave with you as you spend time today meditating on your own life:
- K: "...is so sad for Jay and Bethany - praying for peace for them with the loss of Sue. Another example of needing to be thankful for every SECOND God gives us BREATH."
- C: "This is our temporary home It's not where we belong Windows and rooms that we're passin' through This is just a stop, on the way to where we're going I'm not afraid because I know this is our Temporary Home."
- T: "Our family is so saddened for the sudden loss of a church family sister, so heartbroken for Bethany & Jay...we feel their loss - may God give them the comfort and peace that only He can. Again a reminder to live life to the fullest & remind those around you how much you love them & seek God daily!!"
- M: "Started off the day praying for a sister from Church who was always so nice to me, went to a party with Evan, came home to the shocking news that this devoted wife, mother, Christian, teacher has passed from a major heart attack.... So sad...
- D: "Sue had short spiky hair, she was funny, she was eccentric, she was a teacher who loved her kids and prayed for them, she was passionate about her husband Jay and her daughter Bethany, in fact, the three of them were best friends, she dearly loved God, she wasn't afraid to be herself, she had a massive heart attack, she was my friend...Pray..."
NOTE: I also invite you to reset the playlist to the first song. You can follow along with the words on yesterday's post.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Whew! This has been quite a week! According to the university that I teach for, this is our Spring Break. NOT!!!! I have been more busy that usual trying to fulfill all my duties. Monday our department hosted a symposium on autism, Tuesday was paperwork out the wazoo, Wednesday/Thursday/Friday were spent helping one of my 11 student teachers who has been having challenges.
I talked to Steve on my cell as I was leaving her school around 6 p.m. to see where I should meet up with him. We were headed for Erin's high school play (musical). I spent several minutes pondering which route I should take. I was close to Philly and traffic would probably be crazy in almost any direction I went on a Friday afternoon. I chose not to go by way of Breakneck Road.
Here is a shot I took earlier in the week of the Breakneck Road sign. As I sat at the stoplight, I wondered if stories I have heard are true... that many have been injured or lost their lives on the road whose legacy is described by it's name. I took the picture as a reminder that although my children have been in wrecks, they have not been injured or killed. I REALIZE, with much thanksgiving, that I still have the gift of my children on this earth. I REALIZE that there are many parents who have already lost children.
Many of us have lost a parent or both parents. My dad passed away in 1998 and my mom is really struggling with alzheimer's now. I REALIZE that I did not lose my parents until I had been an adult for many years. I REALIZE that there are many young children who have lost a parent or parents. Transformed Mom, Tanya, passed from this life on January 1, of this year, leaving behind her husband and 6 children. Here is Tanya with daughters Mary and Erin.
This weekend, Erin is starring in her high school musical, Oklahoma. In April, Mary is starring in her university's play, The Importance of Being Earnest. Their brother, Stephen, will host Spring Sing at the same university. They can only hope that mom is watching!!!
As Steve and I rode together, I thought of Tanya and what she might want to share with her children about what she knows now. I am convinced that she would say, "God's holiness is beyond anything you will be able to comprehend! JUST REALIZE that your journey with Christ is worth it!"
Several of our church family gathered to watch Erin. As I read the program, before it began, I read the paragraph about Erin and the last few lines gave me chill bumps, "Erin would like to dedicate her performance in memory of her mother, Tanya McBride (October 23, 1951-January 1, 2010). Her mom was, is, and always will be her biggest hero, best friend, number one fan, and influence in all that she does and she misses her more every day."
Not too long into watching the musical, I REALIZED the plot: The follies of life: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life! There were many teachable moments throughout the play. Yet, I couldn't help but think of Tanya and what she knows now about this old world that we still live in:
Do not love the world nor the things in the world.
The musical, based in the Oklahoma territory in 1906, ends with the characters singing "we know we belong to that land... and the land we belong to is grand... Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweeping off the plain..." There land would soon become a state.
Steve grew up in Oklahoma and it is as the song depicts. Yet, Steve, like other christians, long for the "land of fadeless day"... the holy city...
I REALIZE that christian love transcends the world and gets to the heart of the matter... that's what happened when we met up with Erin afterwards...
Mary flew in to see Erin's performance. I took this picture of the two of them with mom in Spirit.
I REALIZE that, according to the world, these two young ladies have a lot to complain about. The stress they've been under recently should also give them plenty reason to have a short fuse and argue a lot. I REALIZE that in addition to 1 John's encouragement for holiness that our scripture for this week gives another view of how God's people are to be holy:
"Do everything without complaining or arguing,
Friday, March 19, 2010
In our families, it starts young...
And seeds are planted early
Thursday, March 18, 2010
- Maybe people in the left line would perk up their ears, just being nosey, to find out why those crazy people are in that other line.
- Maybe, just maybe, people in the left line would have an "aha" moment and ask themselves, "Why am I really in this complaint line?"
- Maybe, just maybe, the Spirit of God would use the people on the right to shine in such a way that it convicts the people on the left to leave their line.
I've often shared with you that whatever our subject on the blog, that seems to be the area I am challenged in the most that week. Interesting! We all have little "tapes" or "scripts" that run in our heads with words and attitudes about past experiences / people. This week, I've really had a lot of that come to the surface in my mind. Why? I believe God is doing His work in me! I am willing to be the person who steps out of THE COMPLAINT LINE and into THE GRATITUDE LINE. God is telling me that if I want to live a holy life, then I've got to be in the line on the right IN EVERYTHING I do!
Alana is trying very hard to have a Godly attitude.
- She says, "As soon as the raining subsides, lake front dining will begin!"
- She's brainstorming activities for her kids to explore and possibly go Kayaking.
- She took this picture of Lake Peterson at sunset.